Ten members of the California delegation in Congress sent a letter to L.A. Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and the L.A. Times Guild expressing their concern over the scope of layoffs proposed by management, urging all parties to negotiate in good faith to “avoid a drastic measure.”
Members of the California delegation including Representatives Pete Aguilar, Adam Schiff, Ted Lieu and more wrote to both parties “as members of Congress representing constituents who rely on the invaluable reporting provided by the Los Angeles Times.”
“We are concerned about reports of potential layoffs facing the LA Times newsroom and the impact this will have on all Angelenos, the availability of essential news and the strength of our democracy at large,” the letter continues.
According to the delegation, the newspaper is an “irreplaceable source,” for their constituents in California.
“With reports of layoffs affecting 20% or more of the LA Times newsroom,” initially reported by the newspaper themselves, “we urge all parties to reach a consensus to avoid a drastic measure that would harm the outlet’s ability to report on important news in our city and nationwide,” the delegation wrote.
The Congressional members “understand the need to balance the long-term financial stability of the paper with the need to support fair and adequate compensation for journalists.”
The letter then cited a voluntary buyouts strategy that had some “recent success cutting costs,” for the Washington Post. “In light of this, one possible path forward would be to consider a similar approach of voluntary buyouts for the LA Times,” the California delegation members said.
The delegation also mentioned the Guild’s focus on preserving contractual seniority protections, “as well as a desire for more transparency about the numbers the company is trying to reach.”
“We urge the LA Times and Guild to work together to include their employees/members in the discussion of potential buyouts,” the letter read. “Empowering them to propose voluntary cost-cutting measures in a collaborative and thoughtful manner.”
“Additionally, we urge all parties to reach an agreement that respects the right of employees to collectively organize and bargain, and allows for a collaborative approach to ensure the future success and stability of the newspaper,” the note states.
The delegation pointed out Soon-Shiong’s initial promise “upon purchasing the paper to bring stability to the newsroom and work collaboratively, and in good faith, to prevent drastic staff cuts.”
“We urge you to consider alternative solutions that would allow the LA Times to navigate its financial challenges without compromising the integrity and strength of its newsroom,” the letter said.
“We implore all parties to find a solution that ensures the sustainability of the LA Times while preserving the invaluable role it plays in our community,” the delegation concluded.
Just last week, the Times saw its first work stoppage in the history of the publication, as the Guild walked out on Friday in response to looming job cuts.
Some 300 union members staged a rally in front of City Hall in Los Angeles, calling for management to negotiate with the Guild in good faith.
As Guild members participated in Friday’s strike, management locked staffers out of Slack and email.
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